Tanzania’s one and only Geopark has been flagged with ‘Yellow Card,’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
This means the Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark site gets a status renewal for only two years.
The Tanzanian site happens to be one of the only two Geoparks found on the African Continent.
Morocco’s M’Goun Geopark, the other site on the continent, has been given a ‘Green Card,’ which grants the site an extension of four years.
Three sites get yellow cards including the Geoparks in Spain, Canada and Tanzania.
The Global Geoparks Council has been considering revalidation and extension proposals that had been previously submitted in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Apparently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to delays in the evaluation process.
From the 28 revalidations under consideration, 25 Global Geoparks were granted a green card and 3 sites received a yellow card.
A Green card means a renewal for four years, while the Yellow card is a renewal for two years, to respond adequately to the recommendations.
The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council meetings were held at the Satun UNESCO Global Geopark in Thailand and again virtually online.
The council assessed the nine new applications for UNESCO Global Geoparks and 28 revalidations from current UNESCO Global Geoparks.
All of these sites were submitted between 2019 and 2022.
The Council also examined six extension requests of less than 10 percent of the existing UNESCO Global Geoparks.
The Council further discussed issues related to the missions and assessment process, as well as the overall governance of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Program.
As a result of this thorough examination and in the presence of more than 73 observers and representatives of more than 20 Member States.
The UNESCO Global Geoparks Council proposed to forward the nomination of 7 new UNESCO Global Geoparks to the Executive Board of UNESCO, for their endorsement during the 2023 Spring session.
In accordance with Section 2.10 and 5.5 of the Operational Guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks, the Council shall present a report on its work and decisions to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Bureau.
The report will then be circulated to Member States and Associate Member States of UNESCO.
Should the UNESCO Executive Board endorse the outcome of the Council during its spring 2023 session then the designation of these new sites would bring the total number of sites in the Global UNESCO Geoparks Network from 177 to 184.
Number of countries with Geoparks will also be 48 as two new entries, New Zealand and the Philippines join the list.
The Council meets again in December 2022, to examine the applications that are currently undergoing evaluation and revalidation missions.
New sites that have been proposed for designation include Ijen and Maros Pangkep of Indonesia; Aras in Iran, Waitaki Whitestone of New Zealand, Kinabalu of Malaysia, Khorat in Thailand and Bohol in the Philippines.